Fasting and Prayer

I never thought I would write this down. However today that 8th of November I find myself doing just that, writing down my experience in fasting.

Fasting to me was easy, so I didn’t fast. I could go without meals and it would not trouble me. I stopped fasting due to this for many years and lost an important aspect of my Christianity without being aware of it. Over the years the quantity I ate also reduced and I put that down to ageing.

Then came 2018 and my relationship with God grew, my prayer life had grown. I had been practicing contemplative prayer now for two years consistently. I found myself looking to free myself from the bondages I had got myself into over the years. I tried prayer. I tried making promises. I tried will power. I tried talking to my brothers to see if they knew something I never knew. I cried out to God. I asked him to deliver me from my sin. I asked Jesus to forgive me my sin. I remained a sinner. It was like hitting my head on a wall.

Then one day Ravi gave me a book on fasting. The Heavenly Man by Paul Hattaway, I went on to read three other books on fasting The Hidden Power of Prayer and Fasting by Mahesh Chavda, The Ministry of Fasting and Practical Helps in Fasting Long Fasts, both written by Zacharias Tanee Fomum.

My journey into fasting began. The first fast I did was a three day fast, I was at home those days so I didn’t have any external distraction. I started on a journey, understanding that man does not live on bread alone but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God. When it was time to eat I tried to read the Bible, however I forgot quite often. By the end of the fast I was distracted by the thought of what I was going to eat when the fast was over. I then realized what Jesus felt when satan offered him something to eat.

A few months later I did a seven day fast. The community retreat was coming up, I felt this was a great preparation for the retreat. This time I read the Bible during meal times. The first three days I went to office the remainder I was at home or at the community retreat. I continued my normal activities including my daily exercise. However on the fifth day during the retreat I started suffering from a lot of acidity. I started vomiting a lot of liquid and this drained me so much so I had to stop attending the retreat, I could not walk steadily or sit for long. I could not understand this, my preparation had shown that people continued normally during this phase. When I prayed I realized that it was a spiritual attack to stop my fast. I however went on to complete the fast satan should not have victory. By the evening following the fast I took a walk of four km. The next day I did my regular daily exercise. This proved to me that my vomiting and weaknesses was a spiritual attack. I normally don’t get visions but the second day after my fast. I was sitting down after my prayer, I saw a group of people walking by. I saw myself between them. I was stumbling and then I fell. The next thing I saw two people on either side of me stoop down catch me under my arms and lift me up and help me continue my journey accompanying me along the way. I knew then that God had sent me help when I needed it. The surprising thing was people I knew were critical of my choice of when I chose to fast. I went on to research the effects of long fasts, I didn’t find anything or anyone who had the same experience. I was satisfied that God had been with me.

During the fast God gave me this scripture.

Isaiah 58:6
6 “Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the thongs of the yoke,
to let the oppressed go free,
and to break every yoke?

This is my journey my fight against bondage and the victory I look forward to.

I have had benefits, my appetite has improved
My fight against anger. I see victory here. I am no longer getting angry easily.
I am at peace with myself and my God, I know now he is with me.

I have since done a two day fast for an upcoming retreat. I look forward to God breaking the bondage of those attending the retreat.

God bless you…

My God is faithful.

This post is the answer to a prayer I had made regarding my job. I have mentioned the circumstances in the first post of this blog. https://mygodspeaks.com/2017/11/09/first-blog-post/

Once upon a time, way back in 2001, there was a young man starting his career in networking. We met at my office, he was there to fulfill a network project needing implementation in my office. What I didn’t know at that time was the role God had for him in my life. We spent a lot of time together due to the project. I used to share with him some principles of life that had helped me cope with difficult circumstances. After I changed my job in 2008 I lost contact with my friend, as I started this new phase in life.

After a couple of years went by I started praying for a new job since I was beginning to feel uncomfortable in the job I was doing. I told myself, God would have to provide me the job and convince me it was him, if he did not do this, then I decided that I would stay in the current job till he did convince me that it was him getting me the job. I didn’t want to change my job just because I was uncomfortable. The years went by in the same job till I was approaching my tenth year of service. It was then that I lost my job. I took this loss as an answer to my prayer for a change in job.

Now the problem with this was, when I got a new job, that job had to be from Jesus. I had to know it was him giving me the job as I believed my loosing my job was an answer to my prayer. Getting myself a job by circulating my CV was not what I concidered Devine intervention.

It has been eight months since I have lost my job and eight months of waiting on my God. During this time I had to answer a lot of questions from well meaning people as to why I was not just applying and using the talents God had given me. Many could not understand waiting on God for a job, here I was not showing any inclination of moving my backside to get a new job. I never ran around applying to everything that suited my profile. In my heart I knew God will give me the job or would provide for me till I got one. I was even ready to accept not having a job.

Jesus never fails.

In the time I waited I was able to clear every loan I had, including my home loan this in spite of not having a job.

Then out of the blue last week I get a call from the friend I mentioned earlier. He now had a business of his own. He told me that he had been dreaming of me for two days and had to call me. When he heard I had lost my job he was even happier as he said he had wanted me to work in his company for a long time.

Now I have a job and the choice of what I want to work in. I was told come choose what I wanted to contribute to the company and do what I was comfortable with. An offer very rare.

Just send up a prayer thanking this God I serve for he is faithful and gives us more than we can ask for.

Conquering Sin

Prayers are good, sometimes prayers we make or even prayers someone else makes and which we repeat. Prayer draws us closer to God.

However having said that there is just a couple of things.

1) I cant loose focus and think a prayer delivers me from sin. A good point of view in normal situations.

2) I cant loose focus and think I have found a way to overcome sin by making or reciting a prayer.

Both give satan a victory as the focus in both cases is “I”

I have a weakness. A big one that is I judge myself. I would condemn myself if I had the chance. Every time I fail I do this to myself. This is because my focus is the sin..

God in his infinite mercy does not judge us this way, he knows us, our strengths, weakness and our failings. God looks to our willingness to be obedient and faithful and accepts us as we are.

Through the disobedience of Adam and Eve we lost our connection to God but through the obedience of Christ we have re established this relationship.

If I continue and persevere in obedience, God in his infinite mercy will deliver me from my sin whatever it may be. I need not struggle to rid myself of sin. I just do what I was created to do and that is follow Jesus.

I will know this when I do not look at the sin controlling me but am obedient and persevere in obedience, I will then be free to fall in love with God and the sin itself will loose its hold over me because of his love.

Its hard to explain, I’m no great teacher but this is something I’ve been learning the hard way I am yet to be able to put it into words properly.

Forgiveness

Forgiving someone is possible, Loving that same person is a gift from God.

2Sa 1:11  Then David took hold of his clothes, and rent them; and so did all the men who were with him;

2Sa 1:12  and they mourned and wept and fasted until evening for Saul and for Jonathan his son and for the people of the LORD and for the house of Israel, because they had fallen by the sword.

 

It was genuine grief that made David rend his clothes, Then from the depths of a guileless heart there poured forth the “Song of the Bow,” one of the noblest elegies in any tongue. That David mourned for Jonathan was understandable, he was his friend. That David greived for Saul who sought to kill him, escapes human comprehension.

 

Mar 3:22  And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He is possessed by Be-elzebul, and by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 
Mar 3:23  And he called them to him, and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 

The Pharisees circulated this infamous charge-not because they believed it, but to satisfy the questions that were being asked on all sides. What they affirmed they knew to be untrue; but for selfish reasons they would not confess what they really thought. Yet Jesus was not upset, he sat down and exlained that what the Pharisees had said was not possible.

I pray for the grace to forgive and love with a Christ like love, its only when this happens that I will be free to love as Jesus wants me.

Acknowledge him

Luke 10:39-40

39 And she had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet and listened to his teaching.

40 But Martha was distracted with much serving; and she went to him and said, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to serve alone? Tell her then to help me.”

Today I received a scripture during my time of prayer that highlighted what I learned during my study with God.

I learned what Mary did that which pleased Jesus. Martha’s business was good and profitable to her soul. But only one thing is necessary that is God be loved and praised for himself above all other business we may have.

This is what Mary chose. You really cannot love God and and be busy with the necessities of life. You can do this to an extent, however this would be imperfect love.

What Mary had chosen was to love her God with everything she had and just be in his presence this is something that begins here in this life and would continue in the life to come.

Proverbs 3:5-6

5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not rely on your own insight.

6 In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

During my time of prayer I received this scripture, I knew immediately there was more to it than Jesus making straight my paths. What spoke to my heart was the words ‘acknowledge him‘ as the day progressed more light was shed on the topic when I read the scripture below.

Tobit 12:6 Then the angel called the two of them privately and said to them: “Praise God and give thanks to him; exalt him and give thanks to him in the presence of all the living for what he has done for you. It is good to praise God and to exalt his name, worthily declaring the works of God, and with fitting honor to acknowledge him. Do not be slow to give him thanks.

I now realize that I should acknowledge who Jesus is and what Jesus has been doing in my lif, not just want him to answer my prayers or answer questions that come to mind. Basically to do what Mary did when Jesus visited her home.

Hebrews 13:15Through him then let us continually offer up a sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of lips that acknowledge his name.

One thing I need to seek.

Luke 10:42one thing is needful. Mary has chosen the good portion, which shall not be taken away from her.

God is not in your mind.

Rom 12:2  Do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that you may prove what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

Some time back while praying. This verse spoke to me with reference to some obstacle I would come across in the days to come. The obstacle arrived and I was at peace.

For a long time I have been convinced that, its not my mind that would communicate with God, yes my mind was part of me and would have a role to play in my salvation, but its contribution would only be part I would also need to control it.

A good example of what is the role of the mind. When you go to a restaurant and order a meal your mind would choose the dishes you like by reading the menu and knowing from past choices what you would like. However, when the food arrives and you put it into your mouth your mind has no more role to play, the eating and digestion is taken care of by your mouth and other internal organs. In the same way with prayer and your relationship with God, your mind will read and interpret things for you but there are other parts of you that will process what your mind tells you. God can also directly speak to you without your mind.

However quite often my mind works more than it should. It always wants to offer me solutions and fixes for things it can never understand. So much so it exceeds itself. My mind offers me alternative solutions and alternate solutions to the alternative solutions, sometimes for variations on the problem I face. I may not be going through the alternative problems but my mind tells me to be prepared just in case I need a solution. To do this It presents to me all the combinations for the problem and what I can do just in case I need solutions.

So, if I have a disagreement with someone, my mind will tell me all the options I have, If the person I have a disagreement with says something I can give a him or her a specific answer, or if he or she says the something else I can still answer that with an answer from the alternative solutions my mind has prepared me for, I may even be thrilled with the answer my mind came up with.

Today’s reading was from Luke about Zechariah and Elizabeth and the visit of Gabriel with Zechariah.

In Luk 1:18 we find Zechariah answer the angle like this

Luk 1:18  And Zechariah said to the angel, “How shall I know this? For I am an old man, and my wife is advanced in years.” 

You see Zechariah was just like me, he thought things out and got himself into trouble.

Luk 1:20  And behold, you will be silent and unable to speak until the day that these things come to pass, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time.” 

My mind like Zechariah’s mind it likes to understand everything I am told when all that is needed is faith, my mind does not believe in faith, it believes in logic.

I ask myself can my mind get me to heaven and I know without doubt that this will never happen because I do not have the logic needed, programmed into my mind. Also since my mind does not work on faith I doubt it would understand any angel, good or bad or even when God speaks to me.

Now you may wonder what could be bad in thinking things over. There is nothing bad except my mind takes my eyes off Jesus, and when that happens there is a high chance I may mess things up by doing something logical.

For example, when I lost my job two months back, one of the things Jesus told me was not to brood over what has happen, in other words, don’t let my mind dwell on the situation. If I brood I will end up in problems as I will not trust that my God will provide for me.

Another area is in forgiveness, when I analyze the situation when I disagree with someone, I invariably feel I am right, also my mind will convince me that If I did not do what I did or should do then something else would have happened, and I would have to react another way which would cause me more problems. To avoid the multiple problems my mind brings to light I would consider all the options my mind tells me about the person I am dealing with. I would then face him or her with the current problem and other hypothetical problems conjured up by my mind, I am sure you can understand the results. I know I will never be at peace. I have learned not to give my mind an option to analyze things, I just take the situation as it is forgive if needed and move on, I no longer permit the situation to stay in my mind I make sure my mind leaves the thought as well. I have found a lot of peace when I do this.

I feel we have lost the ability to identify Angels when they come to speak to us because we use our minds, I intend to try to learn what inside me can understand these things, I know my God is faithful and will lead me, till then I continue to wait on him.

Your Sins are Forgiven.

Luke 7:47

47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.”

Through Love I have the ability to have my sins forgiven. The more I love the more I long to love.

When Jesus called Mary and said your sins are Forgiven. It was not for her great sorrow nor was it her awareness that she was a sinner nor was it her meekness. Jesus forgave her because he saw how much she loved.

Can I have such Love?

Meekness and what it is as a Christian.

It’s been quite interesting studying the cloud of unknowing. The thirteenth chapter talks about Meekness.

The interesting part for me is learning that there are two types of meekness. The first is when meekness is caused by anything other than God. And the second is when it is caused by God.

The first is imperfect and shall fail at the end of our lives nevertheless this is good. The second is perfect and shall last without end.

Now what do we mean by meekness?

Meekness is the knowing and feeling of ourself just as we are.

There are two things that cause this kind of meekness.

1. The filth, wretchedness and frailty into which we have fallen through sin. We will feel this in some part while we live.

2. The over abundant love and worthiness of God in himself. And that it is not possible as we are to behold this nature of God directly.

Now God asks me where do I stand in regard to meekness in my life. There is a long way to go for me a journey I am beginning to get excited about, the more I learn about my God.

From him comes my salvation.

Psalms 62:1

1 For God alone my soul waits in silence; from him comes my salvation.

Sounds good doesn’t it, the question is how do I do this. Yes from God comes my salvation. But how do I wait for it, isn’t there someway I can automate it. Or some way I can make it more efficient so that I can get it faster?

I have been caught up with life and the perpetual hurry to get there. Who knows what there is. It’s defined by some intellectual who thinks he has the answer to a perfect life. Ah yes why not make some money in the bargain.

Jesus I have learned is different he is not in a hurry he is patient he waits for me. I found I can only meet him on his terms.

While I wait he works behind the scenes getting my life in order righting the wrongs making me whole. Nothing visible most times. Till he feels I need to learn something. Then he teaches me through the people around me. Or through what I come across. Sometimes I am slow and he wakes me up from my spiritual slumber by speaking to me directly. There is no mistaking that it is him. The more I wait the easier it is to recognize him. Yes the confirmation of what he said comes latter an encouragement that he is there.

WAIT for your God he will come in his time. Till then nothing can touch you. WAIT on Jesus because in your silence he brings a change.

What do I seek?

Why do I pray like this? and what do I have after all this prayer?  It’s a question I have asked myself over the last few years, I have seen quite a few things happen in my life and have wondered why I believe in God, and why do I continue to follow him in spite of what I see.

I seek God, It is the God that made me, and bought me, and has graciously called me by name. It is this God I covert, it’s this God I seek. I am not an intellectual person, nor am I a spiritually gifted person, but I know my God, I know if I listen to him and hear him, He will take me lower and lower till I see the mind of his passion. Till I see the wonderful kindness of God.

I know my search for God from now on will now be a seeking of Love, in prayer I will overcome the unknown, and with a single word I will answer any distraction and unknowing.

I will one day see the face of God.